SERAP issues FG 7-day ultimatum to disclose details of recovered Abacha loot, says failure to do so will be clearly inconsistent
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal Government to disclose within seven days, details of about $5 billion recovered from a former military head of state, Sani Abacha.
SERAP in a statement issued on Sunday said that it has sent two Freedom of Information requests to Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abukabar Malami, seeking the exact amount of public funds stolen and how much has been recovered since the return of democracy in 1999.
“We are concerned that substantial part of the estimated $5 billion returned Abacha loot since 1999 may have been diverted, re-stolen or mismanaged, and in any case remain unaccounted for.
“Getting to the root of the exact amount of the Abacha loot and how the returned funds have been spent is important for the success of the government’s fight against grand corruption and would reassure Nigerians that the government is truly committed to ensuring full accountability for the alleged corruption and mismanagement in the spending of the funds”.
“Disclose within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of our Freedom of Information requests the exact amount of public funds stolen by a former military head of state, Sani Abacha and details of spending of about $5 billion recovered loot since the return of democracy in 1999.”
According to SERAP, failure by FG to provide the information requested will show signs of inconsistency and accountability to the general public.
“Any failure or refusal to provide the information requested will be clearly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the FoI Act. The accountability of government to the general public is a hallmark of modern democratic governance, a norm of human rights and a tool to curb corruption”.
“The report by the panel shows that the government recovered some $635 million, £75 million, DM 30 million and N9 billion as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40% interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone. Other assets were recovered from the Abacha family and associates”